Opinion Former Article

Cogent: Launch of new Technical Apprenticeship Service for Science-based Industries

The Technical Apprenticeship Service (TAS) is an easy to use recruitment service for employers, providers and apprentices. It was officially launched on 13th October, by Cogent Chairman, Tom Crotty at Cogent SSC’s Annual Skills Forum hosted by Wirral West MP, Esther McVey, at the House of Commons.

It is a new subsidiary of Cogent, initially funded from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Growth and Innovation Fund, but with a longer term remit to be fully self-sustaining.

The newly-formed Technical Apprenticeship Service is an employer-led organisation which attracts, selects and places technical apprentices.

It is aimed at companies involved in the process manufacturing industries: chemicals, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, polymers and associated industries.

The service aims to increase Apprenticeship numbers in the Process Sector by addressing barriers – for example, establishing new provision in areas which have previously lacked specialist technical training. The over-riding aim is finding “real jobs for real apprentices” but TAS will support employers who might not be able to employ the apprentice at the outset.

It will also encourage apprentices to progress to higher levels of learning and promote the new Higher Level Apprenticeships, particularly in Life Sciences. With University fees escalating, this offers a debt-free route to degree-level employment while gaining essential workplace skills.

Jayne Edwards, newly appointed Managing Director of TAS said, “the wide support for TAS demonstrates the importance of science-based apprenticeships to the economy; we look forward to supporting employers, particularly SMEs, in finding the right calibre of people for their business.”

Phil Jones, CEO of the National Skills Academy Process Industries added, “the Skills Academy will support the delivery of TAS – and we’ve already identified a strong appetite from employers who are seeking talented, motivated individuals, who are equipped with the specialist, high value, skills these industries need to succeed.”

Joanna Woolf Cogent CEO added, “our event at the House of Commons was a real celebration of the specialist apprentices across the science-using footprint. The launch of TAS will support companies to boost their skills base, increase capacity to meet future demand and is a cost-effective way to address skills gaps.”


More about TAS

For employers TAS:

• Helps to create the specification for the ideal apprentice
• Recruits, screens, skills tests and interviews candidates
• Provides employers with a shortlist of the most suitable candidates
• Employs the apprentice on behalf of a company (if required) managing all payroll and HR functions
• Matches the employer with the most suitable provider to access the associated government funded training
• Mentors the apprentices throughout their Apprenticeship

For individuals TAS:

• Identifies paid positions they might like to apply for
• Supports them throughout the programme
• Helps them to use the Apprenticeship to move on to a career in their specialism, or take studies
• A bursary is available for individuals who complete their Apprenticeship and want to go on to access higher level studies, for example, a High Level Apprenticeship
• Provides the opportunity to earn a living and avoid student debts
• Provides exit support - at the end of the Apprenticeship it is expected that the apprentice will be offered a job with their host employer. If not, they will be supported to find another position.

For providers TAS:

• Provides an additional service to their current employers who are unable to employ the apprentice at the start of the programme
• Brings employers looking for training to the provider acting as an extension of their business development team
• Acts as the point of liaison between the apprentice, training organisation and employer to ensure all needs are being met
• Works in partnership with them to promote Apprenticeships to stakeholders
• Makes their programmes viable
• Supports them to extend provision into new programme areas.

Employers who are interested in the services of TAS, can call 01925 515 219 or email



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